Harbinger of the Seas | Modern Horizons 3 | Art by Winona Nelson
5, Jul, 24

Modern Horizons 3 Rejuvenates Lesser-Seen MTG Format!

Article at a Glance

Modern Horizons 3 really is the gift that keeps on giving. Every sanctioned format has been impacted by this monumental new release. Some, naturally, more than others. Timeless may not be the first format that comes to mind first for most players. It’s relatively new, after all, and only available on MTG Arena. That said, it’s seen some serious shits thanks to MH3, with several new MTG Timeless decks emerging to threaten the meta.

While these strategies are largely similar to those we’ve seen in other formats, the unique card pool in Timeless gives them all a distinct flavor. There’s something new for everyone, whether you enjoy Aggro, Midrange, or wacky Combo. With so many interesting decks around, now may be the time to try out Timeless if you haven’t already.

Boros Energy

Boros Energy

This one shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone following Magic at all currently. The power level of MH3’s new Energy cards wasn’t fully appreciated during spoiler season, but now that they’re out in the wild, there can be no doubt. These cards are great, and they’re here to stay.

Like its Modern equivalent, Timeless Boros Energy runs all of the cheap, efficient Energy cards. Guide of Souls, Galvanic Discharge, Amped Raptor; all here, all doing great work. The deck also runs Unstable Amulet for a bit of extra card draw and reach. Outside of the core Energy package, the deck also plays staple aggressive creatures like Ocelot Pride and Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer. The plan is to curve out and beat down, simple as that.

What differentiates the Timeless version of the deck from its Modern equivalent? Largely the inclusion of Lurrus of the Dream Den as a Companion. Even post-errata, this card is still problematic enough to be banned in Modern. In Timeless, however, the Nightmare Cat roams free. Getting to recast your ultra-efficient early drops is incredibly powerful, and gives the deck a lot of resilience that the Modern version lacks.

One card doesn’t seem like a major difference, but given that you get your Companion guaranteed every game, it actually is. On the other hand, the fact that what is very nearly a straight transplant from Modern can compete in Timeless, a format with a pretty insane card pool, says a lot about the quality of the new Energy cards. Of all the new MTG Timeless decks enabled by MH3, Boros Energy is by far the best.

Dimir Midrange

Dimir Midrange

Red and white weren’t the only colors to get great new creatures in Modern Horizons 3. Black and blue did very well themselves, with new staples like Tamiyo, Inquisitive Student and Psychic Frog slotting neatly into a lot of strategies. One such strategy is this Timeless Dimir Midrange deck, brand-new to MTG with MH3.

Like most Midrange decks, this one plays a varied game. It can go on the offensive early with its cheap threats, or take a more controlling angle with its deep suite of removal and disruption. Psychic Frog, as in every format, is an absolute house here. It provides card draw alongside a scaling, potentially evasive beater. What more could a Midrange deck want?

Of course, decks running similar bundles of cards have also seen success in Modern. The Timeless version, however, has a little more juice. Brainstorm being legal is a huge deal, allowing for rapid Tamiyo flips and flexible turns both early and late. This version also gets to run Mana Drain instead of Counterspell; a substantial upgrade, I’m sure you’d agree.

As with Boros Energy, this Dimir Midrange deck is also a Lurrus list. If you thought Psychic Frog was annoying alone, wait until you have to stop an endless stream of them from the graveyard. This extra grindyness is ideal for a list like this, where every sliver of value is precious.

Mono-Blue Belcher


Let’s round things out with a bit of a wildcard. Just a couple of days ago, popular MTG Arena streamer AliEldrazi claimed a 5-0 finish in a Timeless event with a wild Mono-Blue Belcher list. Looking at this deck for the first time is a beautifully confusing experience. It appears to play no lands, but some incredibly expensive spells, like Omniscience and Commandeer. How on earth could such a list even generate mana, let alone win a game?

Very easily, it turns out. First of all, the deck doesn’t play no lands, it just plays MDFC lands exclusively. Modern Horizons 3 brought two new mono-blue options in this category, Sink into Stupor and Hydroelectric Specimen. These are actually the big contributions to this deck from MH3. They provide the critical mass of MDFCs it needs in order to function.

Why can’t the deck run any regular lands? Well, as the name suggests, the deck’s primary win condition is Goblin Charbelcher. This reveals cards from the top of your deck until you reveal a land, then deals damage equal to the cards revealed. MDFC lands don’t count as lands when Belcher is revealing cards, so one activation is enough to deal upwards of 40 damage to your opponent.

En route to this combo finish, Mono-Blue Belcher disrupts opponents with powerful Timeless exclusives like Mana Drain and Commandeer, the latter of which you can easily cast for free. It also runs the new Harbinger of the Seas to slow opponents down. It’s a wacky deck to be sure, and by far the most interesting of the new Timeless MTG decks enabled by MH3.

Extra Time

Outside of these big success stories, cards from MH3 have made their way into all kinds of Timeless MTG decks. Necrodominance is seeing play alongside the OG Necropotence in Mono-Black lists, and Planar Genesis has snuck its way into Show and Tell, for card draw that dodges Orcish Bowmasters. It’s a set with wide-reaching impact, in other words.

Given how relatively young Timeless is, this makes a ton of sense. A lot of its best cards to date have come from Bonus Sheets in Standard sets, but Modern Horizons 3 is the first full-on ‘eternal only’ set the format has seen. Not counting Lord of the Rings, that is, which was much less explicit in its intent to raise the power level.

Timeless is still finding its feet, but sets like Modern Horizons 3 are what will really help it to do so. The format is all about playing powerful cards, after all, and MH3 has some of the best we’ve seen in years.

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